Media giant Viacom said Thursday it sold Cambridge, MA-based Rock Band
developer Harmonix to strategic investment firm Columbus Nova, as Harmonix says it's "excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio."
The sale officially brings an end to a relationship that started when MTV parent Viacom acquired the studio in September 2006 for $175 million in cash plus earn-out bonuses to former shareholders in the studio.
Viacom did not disclose the amount of the sale transaction, which officially transitioned the company to "Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Columbus Nova, LLC", but announced its intention to sell
"Columbus Nova is really excited about backing the world-class team that has consistently produced such great games and helping them grow the company and its brands," a rep for Columbus Nova told Gamasutra.
He added that Columbus Nova will not be inheriting the recent lawsuit
that has former Harmonix shareholders suing Viacom over earn-out bonuses.
"The lawsuit is driven by a group of former Harmonix shareholders -- not Harmonix management, Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC or Columbus Nova," he stated.
Harmonix spokesperson John Drake confirmed the news
on Harmonix's official message boards: "Viacom and MTV Networks have been an amazing home for us over the past four years."
"It’s where we launched both Rock Band
and Dance Central
, worked with The Beatles, Green Day, AC/DC, The Who and thousands of other artists. We want to take a moment to thank everyone in that organization who helped make these awesome games possible."
He added, "We’re excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio. As for what it means for you, the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band
, we will continue our support of previously released titles and we’re hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you’re going to be pumped about. "